The National Football League has announced a new campaign to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity. The NFL Play 60 Program encourages kids to be active for 60 minutes each day through school and community events. They are also sponsoring the NFL Play 60 Invention Contest, to inspire kids 6-13 to invent their own game, activity, piece of fitness equipment, football-themed innovation, or training device for a chance to win $5,000, a 3-day/2-night trip for two to the Grand Prize Event, and an NFL Prize Pack. Two finalists and 12 semi-finalists will also receive prizes. The contest site offers brainstorming tips and inspiration to get you started.
Many NFL players and other athletes utilize a simple and extremely inexpensive piece of fitness equipment to help them stay in shape – a jump rope. Jumping rope has gone in and out of fashion since ancient Egypt, when both men and women jumped over vines. It wasn’t until the 20th century that jumpers incorporated the sing-song games and rhymes that many of us associate with childhood and particularly girls.
As a fan of simple and inexpensive games and equipment, as well as the origin and continuation of playground games that are passed down through the generations through oral history, I love everything about jumping rope. As inspiration, here are three fitness benefits to jumping rope. It can be easy to fit jumping rope into your 60 minutes of daily fitness. Below are some fun jump rope games that will keep you singing and laughing as well as help keep you fit. They are games my mom taught me and I taught my daughter. Who knows, you might invent the next jump rope or other fun game.
One regular jump rope for one person, or a longer jump rope for two turners to turn, while a jumper (or more) jumps.
The jumper jumps over the rope each time it hits the ground. Jumpers can jump in one jump each turn or one big jump followed by one smaller jump each turn. A turn ends when the jumper fails to jump over the turning rope. The following are classic, easy jump-rope games. They don’t have tunes, so much as chants, so they are especially easy to pick up.
A My Name is Alice
This is a fun add-on game that also calls for a little creativity and is different every time
The first jumper starts with the letter A, and fills in the blanks in this sentence, however he or she chooses:
A my name is ____ and my husband’s name is ____ and we live in ____ and we sell ____.
For example: A my name is Alice and my husband’s name is Al and we live in Albuquerque and we sell Apples.
If the jumper hasn’t tripped up, he or she moves on to the letter B, such as:
B my name is Betty and my husband’s name is Bob and we live in Boise and we sell Beans.
Jumpers move through the alphabet as long as their turns last. New jumpers usually start with A (that makes it easy to compare how far each gets) and choose new names.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
This jump-rope game is a little more advanced, as it requires player to pantomime the activity they are singing about (to the best of their abilities) as they are jumping.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, tie your shoe,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, that will do!
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go upstairs,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn out the lights,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say good-night!
The following games involve counting as far as jumpers can get during each turn.
Mabel, Mabel, set the table,
Do it as fast as you are able,
Don’t forget the Red. (pause) Hot. (pause) PEPPERS!
On “Peppers”, start turning the rope doubly-fast, counting a point for each turn. The jumper jumps until they miss and are out.
Cinderella, dressed in yella
went downstairs to kiss a ‘fella.
By mistake she kissed a snake.
How many doctors did it take?
1, 2, 3, .. (Count each turn of the rope successfully jumped.)
Apples, Peaches, Pears and Plums
Apples, peaches, pears and plums.
Tell me when your birthday comes.
January, February, March, .. (Count one month for each turn of the rope successfully jumped.)
Have an idea for a NEW way to get active? Encourage your kids to enter the NFL Play60 Invention Contest! Enter today!
Want a free NFL Play60 poster? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address to request one!
These jump rope games were adapted from Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World, which contains this and 300+ more fun family activities.
This post is sponsored by NFL Play 60. The views expressed are my own.
Jump rope photo: Flickr Creative Commons